No matter how successful your propane retail operation may be, there’s always room for improvement. Digital Dispatcher, maker of a mobile field management system for the propane industry, offers eight tips to help ensure success and increase savings.
1. Emphasize your company’s history. Many propane delivery businesses are family-run enterprises with decades of history and experience in the industry. That legacy of trust, service and credibility is worth celebrating. Let current and prospective clients know about the principles responsible for your name recognition and achievements, regionally or nationwide. Brand equity of this caliber is the result of time and hard work, which people respect and admire.
2. Mobilize your workforce for real-time intelligence. A mobilized workforce, in which a manager or dispatcher has real-time intelligence about drivers (along with details about the frequency of deliveries and overall efficiency), can yield instant savings and streamline operations. This information can eliminate redundancies as well as identify and reward the most productive employees. It can be easily run from any desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
3. Strengthen and broaden industry relationships. The propane delivery industry has many experts with significant wisdom and decades of insight about this subject. Between associations and speaking opportunities, these professionals can increase their exposure (for the good of their respective businesses) and educate their peers about important developments and changes. As an industry, there are gifted executives, veteran business owners and analysts with the skills to help everyone succeed.
4. Embrace technology. Technology has transformational benefits, provided it is the right kind of hardware or software. Make technology a priority by conducting an audit concerning the information you, as a business owner, need to know, want to know more about and plan to use. Doing so will lead to better communications and the ability to reinvest in the key areas of your company.
5. Make, distribute and become a source of news. Tell your colleagues about your accomplishments, partnerships, milestones and noteworthy transactions. News begets news, which underscores your influence and ability to generate more business and grow organically. Again, information is the currency of marketing and leadership. Announce your achievements.
6. Uncover undisclosed cost savings. Due to increased competition and improved technology, new cost savings are available from credit merchant relationships, print companies, marketing resources and software vendors. Don’t just ask your peers, ask vendors who may have a vast network of savings tips. In this area, 15 minutes will save you thousands of dollars.
7. Go mobile. In 2013, more than 1 billion smartphones and more than 200 million tablets were sold. Leverage this new technology trend and you will be ahead of the competition in cost savings for years to come. Partner with a tech company that has years of experience in this area to ensure easier and faster results. Fixing this area can also eliminate driver/tech cell calls, an easy way to improve safety fast.
8. Do what FedEx is doing (emulate the best). FedEx is combining route optimization, fleet tracking, dispatch dashboards, inventory tracking, point-of-sale invoices, signature capture and instant dispatching and is eliminating end-of-day clerical work in real time without fancy (now obsolete) hand-held computers – all via a tablet or smartphone-integrated technology. Piggyback on its research, do what it is doing, and you will reap the same rewards.